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Film News Roundup: Alec Baldwin to Play John DeLorean in Documentary (EXCLUSIVE)

In today’s film news roundup, Alec Baldwin will portray John DeLorean in an untitled documentary, Anthony Mackie joins “The Hate U Give,” and country music star Trace Adkins comes on board “Motocross.”

CASTINGS

Alec Baldwin has signed on to play John DeLorean in a series of scripted scenes that will be added to XYZ Films’ untitled documentary about Delorean, Variety has learned exclusively.

Supporting roles for the narrative scenes are currently being cast. Baldwin’s hair and makeup team from “Saturday Night Live” have also been enlisted to transform him into Delorean.

The film is directed by Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce. Producers are Tamir Ardon, XYZ Films, and 9.14 Pictures. Ingenious is backing the project. Production is currently under way, with the narrative scenes to be shot shortly.

Sundance Selects is distributing the film domestically. It is scheduled to be released in 2018. The movie will covers the automaker’s rise to stardom and fall from grace. Interviews with colleagues, employees, lawyers, friends and family who knew him best are interspersed with dramatized vignettes.

Sundance Selects bought the rights to the documentary last year. The DeLorean was immortalized in the “Back to the Future” trilogy as the vehicle used for time travel.

*****

Anthony Mackie and Kian Lawley have joined the cast of Fox 2000’s adaptation of “The Hate U Give,” which began principal photography in Atlanta on Tuesday.

The movie stars Amandla Stenberg as Starr, a character constantly switching between two worlds: the poor, mostly black, neighborhood where she lives, and the rich, mostly white, prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend at the hands of a police officer.

The movie is directed by George Tillman Jr. from a screenplay by Tina Mabry and Audrey Wells. “The Hate U Give” also stars Regina Hall and Russell Hornsby as Starr’s parents. It features Issa Rae, Sabrina Carpenter, Algee Smith, Lamar Johnson, and Common.

The project is based on the debut novel by Angela Thomas. Mackie will play the local drug dealer King and Kian will play Starr’s boyfriend, Chris.

****

Country music star Trace Adkins, Michael Roark, Ali Afshar, and Allison Paige are starring in the action drama “Motocross” with shooting starting this month in Northern California.

The story is centered on a young soldier who survives an IED explosion in combat overseas and is medically discharged with a broken back and leg. Against all odds, he trains to make an impossible comeback as a motocross racer in order to support his family.

Alex Ranarivelo is directing the film from a screenplay he wrote. The film is a Forrest Films and ESX Entertainment co-production. Christina Moore and Afshar are producing. Forrest Lucas is executive producer.

“Forrest and I are proud to continue to tell stories about the American dream and way of life,” said Afshar. “This film is special as it’s the first time we’ve been able to incorporate a positive military character as the lead.”

Lucas and Afshar most recently teamed to make “American Wrestler: The Wizard,” starring John Voight, William Fichtner, Lia Marie Johnson, George Kosturos and Afshar, whose  story provided the basis for the film.

HONORS

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles will honor Kenneth Branagh with the Albert R. Broccoli Britannia award for worldwide contribution to entertainment.

The organization will present the award on Oct. 27 at the British Academy Britannia awards at the Beverly Hilton hotel.

Branagh has received five Academy Award nominations — best actor and best director for “Henry V,” best live action short film for “Swan Song,” best adapted screenplay for “Hamlet,” and best supporting actor for “My Week With Marilyn.” He’s directing, producing, and starring in “Murder on the Orient Express,” which Fox opens Nov. 10.

Branagh appeared in Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” as a British Navy commander. His recent directing credits include “Thor,” “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” and “Cinderella.” He also portrayed Detective Kurt Wallander in the British television series “Wallander,” which won a BAFTA award and earned him Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.

Branagh was awarded a Michael Balcon award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and received a knighthood in 2013 for his services to drama and the community in Northern Ireland.

BAFTA Los Angeles has previously announced it will honor Dick Van Dyke, Ava DuVernay, and Claire Foy. British comedian Jack Whitehall will return as host.

PHILANTHROPY 

The SAG-AFTRA foundation and the SAG-AFTRA motion picture players welfare fund have created a hurricane relief fund specifically to provide financial support to SAG-AFTRA members affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

The SAG-AFTRA foundation seeded the hurricane relief fund with $200,000 and the SAG-AFTRA MPPWF matched the contribution for a total initial assistance pool of $400,000. The organizations will be reaching out to the entire membership of 160,000 SAG-AFTRA performers for additional contributions and donations to the emergency relief fund.

The actors fund has partnered with the SAG-AFTRA foundation and SAG-AFTRA MPPWF to provide the social services and coordinate the grant reviews and approvals. SAG-AFTRA members are eligible to apply for the hurricane relief fund if they are currently active and have paid their dues through April 30. Affected and eligible members may apply by contacting the actors fund in Los Angeles or New York.

WRITERS PROGRAM

Universal Pictures has expanded its emerging writers fellowship with its newly formed global talent development and inclusion group launching the Universal writers program.

In redesigning the program, substantial changes have been made to the application process including eligibility requirements allowing experienced writers with produced credits the opportunity to apply. The previous program was primarily open to novice writers. Also, a professional script consultant to help writers develop and present material to Universal Pictures and Focus Features development executives.

The studio made the announcement Tuesday. The program will begin in April.

“We are a studio committed to discovering unique voices and developing writers on the cusp of breaking though,” said Peter Cramer, Universal’s president of production. “Although the breadth of the application process is expanding, these programs are designed to identify game-changing talent.”

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT 

Jordan Peele, the director-writer of “Get Out,” is set to give the keynote address at the 13th annual Film Independent forum next month.

“Through the years, the Film Independent forum has had the most influential filmmakers and executives come and ‘tell it like it is’ – so it is very exciting to offer our audience the opportunity to hear from a multi-hyphenate artist like Jordan Peele, whose directorial debut ‘Get Out’ proved that social critique, entertainment and box office success need not be mutually exclusive,” said Maria Raquel Bozzi, the group’s senior director of education and international initiatives.

The event will take place Oct. 20-22 at the Directors Guild of America headquarters in Hollywood.

RETIREMENT

Longtime Universal international distribution executive Jack Ledwith is retiring from his post as senior VP and  managing director at the end of the year.

Dylan Clark, the studio’s head of international distribution, disclosed the departure in a memo to staff:

“Since 1996, Jack has been an integral and valued member of our distribution family. Under his leadership, he has shepherded the international releases of some of our most successful and beloved films, including ‘Gladiator,’ ‘Les Misérables,’ ‘Mamma Mia!,’ ‘Inglourious Basterds,’ ‘Jurassic World’ and the movies of the Bourne, American Pie, Fast & Furious and Despicable Me franchises, among countless others. His efforts have helped to deliver the four highest-grossing years at the international box office in our studio’s history.

Jack has worked in film distribution for 42 years and helped bring more than 800 films to the screen. Before joining Universal, he held positions at Avco Embassy Pictures, Embassy Pictures, De Laurentiis Entertainment Group and Carolco Pictures. In 2012, he was honored with the CinemaCon Passepartout Award, and in 2015 was named International Distributor of the Year at CineAsia.

Since the formation of Universal Pictures International in 2006, Simon, Niels and I have had the distinct pleasure of working alongside him closely. On behalf of them, and the entire organization, I would like to thank Jack for his countless contributions to our company. Across many management teams and challenges too many to name, he has been a tremendous asset to the international operation.

While we will miss his daily presence at the studio, we know he’s only a phone call away. Please join me in congratulating Jack and his family on his retirement and wishing him well on his much-deserved next chapter.”

The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

 

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